Melissa Loop


The Patagonia Reconfigured, 2011, acrylic and enamel on panel, 36 x 48 in.

Congrats China, 2011, acrylic and enamel on panel, 36 x 60 in.

St. Thomas All Inclusive, 2011, acrylic and enamel on panel, 36 x 24 in.

Impending:  Japan, 2011, acrylic and enamel on panel, 48 x 36 in.

City Park 5, 2011, acrylic and enamel on panel, 48 x 36 in.

City Park 3, 2010, acrylic and enamel on panel, 48 x 36 in.

Israel Pavilion, 2011, acrylic and enamel on panel, 36 x 60 in.

City Park 1, 2010, acrylic and enamel on panel, 36 x 48 in.

Artist Statement

I make paintings that explore the idea of Utopia as examined in Fredrick Jameson’s Archaeologies of the Future: The Desire Called Utopia and Other Science Fictions. This idea of Utopia concentrates on the notion that it is an impossibility and any attempt to create one only leads to the exploitation and/or control of other people, places, and resources. Because of this, Utopia has more to do with our limits and vulnerability in Western culture then it does with perfect societies. For the past three years, I have taken Thomas More’s concept of Utopia as the perfect faraway island, and developed an idiosyncratic formal language that has its roots in advertisements and cartoons. This has allowed me to expand my ideas and now I find each piece opens me to more and more nuanced explorations of manmade fantasies in both the real and digital world.

My work explores specific ideas of Utopia as it directly relates to globalized culture’s search and attempt at perfection in cities, parks, vacation destinations, and the internet’s digital landscapes. These are opulent and/or exotic places such as Dubai, Las Vegas, Patagonia, Caribbean Islands, water parks, Disneyland, and online game worlds. I use Google Images and magazines to find source material that I collage into new fantasy places. The paintings are highly influenced by the slick, hyper-colored quality of video games, advertising, and animation. The paintings go in and out of flatness, abstract shapes jet out from behind buildings, landscapes become jumbled shapes, neon rainbows over-whelm the sky, and patterned borders stand in place of advertisement text. This use of patterns, over-lapping forms, and dripping paint emphasizes the flatness and abstraction of the image so that the paintings call attention to their own artificiality. These paintings act as metaphors for our simulations of natural habitats, social structures, and consumerist environments. Because Utopia has more to do with our limits and vulnerability in Western culture then it does with perfect societies, I can use the Utopian fantasy gray area of cultural seduction and exploitation to explore my desire, repulsion and contribution to it.

Melissa Loop’s Website

Melissa Loop on Artsy Forager